The outcome of the vast majority of casino games is determined by chance, such as how the dice fall in a game of craps, or where the ball ends up in a game of roulette. When you play casino games online, computer software is used to simulate such events. A Random Number Generator, or RNG, is employed to make the outcomes as truly random as possible. But what exactly is an RNG, and why is the RNG in gaming so important?
In this article, we will answer both of those questions and more. We'll explain why Random Number Generators are essential to fairness in online gaming and give you a brief overview of how RNGs work. We'll also tell you why playing games from the very best providers at legal online casinos in New Zealand is the easiest way to enjoy an authentic online gaming experience that is genuinely fair to all.
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RNG Meaning and Definition - What is RNG?
RNG stands for Random Number Generator. A Random Number Generator is anything that can be used to generate numbers that can't be predicted in advance by anyone. For example, a coin can be flipped to randomly generate one of two results - Heads or Tails. Similarly, a six-sided die can be used to generate any number between 1 and 6, and rolling two dice at once makes it possible to randomly generate a number between 2 and 12.
In the world of online casinos, no such physical coin or dice exist, and so special software programmes are used to try and simulate such randomness. These software programmes are called Random Number Generators, and when that term or its RNG acronym is used in general discussion, it is usually the artificial software-driven approach that is being referenced.
Generating random numbers via computer software is a lot more challenging than using a physical prop. That's because physical RNGs (such as a coin or dice) are affected by a multitude of factors that aren't present in an artificial digital environment.
Consider the flip of a coin. The outcome will be influenced, to a greater or lesser extent, by the way that the coin is balanced on the thumb, by the force with which the thumb is flipped, by the angle at which it is flipped, by the atmospheric conditions of the air through which it is flipped, by the physical characteristics of the surface on which the coin lands, and many other factors.
When a computer is used to generate random numbers, it will usually rely on an algorithm that uses a seed value to generate a large range of numbers from which one outcome can be picked at any given point. However, because that larger range isn't truly random, but is generated from a seed value, anyone who knows the seed value can - in theory at least - obtain the whole range. For this reason, the programs that take this approach are more properly known as Pseudo Random Number Generators.
A better way of generating random numbers using computer software is by taking measurements of some unpredictable physical condition, such as thermal noise. That unpredictable condition can then be used to provide more truly random numbers that can't be replicated, as the same range of numbers will never be generated twice.
The Random Number Generators used by modern casinos are designed to provide outcomes that are as random and fair for all as possible. The best casino software providers not only subject their own casino games to rigorous in-house testing and analysis but also submit them for objective testing by independent auditors. This ensures that the outcomes of online games, such as craps, roulette, or keno, are every bit as random and unpredictable as they would be when playing at a traditional land-based venue.
It's clear that online game developers have to work hard to ensure that their RNGs are as fair and unpredictable as possible. That is something that costs a great deal of time and manpower, not to mention money, so why do they view random numbers as being so important. Why not use a less complicated system of generating results instead?
There are in fact several reasons why RNG in gaming is important. Some are rather obvious, and some are not so obvious, so let's now take a look at a few of the main ones:
The most obvious reason why random number generation is important in online gaming is that it's the only way to ensure that games are fair to those who play them. Just as you wouldn't want to play a game of roulette at a land-based venue when you know that the roulette wheel has been manipulated in any way to favour the house, so you wouldn't want to play the game online if the RNG in casinos online has been similarly skewed.
As players of casino games, we often view the house as being the enemy that must be beaten at all costs, but the fact is that they are perfectly respectable businesses that have every right to make a profit. Casinos base their entire existence on probabilities, so they need to be confident that their games are truly random so that their statistical expectations will hold true over the long term.
For example, in a game of European Roulette, the house edge is 2.71%. That means the casino can expect to retain 2.71% of all money staked on the game over the long term, give or take a margin of error and periodic fluctuations. In business terms, that's quite a small percentage, so if the random numbers aren't truly random it could easily obliterate the expected profit and cause the casino to lose money over the long term. That wouldn't be good for the casino, and it wouldn't be good for anyone who enjoys playing there.
Random numbers are essential for any online casino that wants to protect itself, and its players, from the threat of fraud. After all, if a casino uses a flawed RNG, then that flaw could well be exploited by anyone who discovers it. There are plenty of rogue hackers and organised crime syndicates that would be all too keen to invest time and effort into draining money from a vulnerable casino. Even worse, they would probably do so in such a slow and discreet way that the casino might not realise what is happening until it is far too late. This isn't something that any casino wants, so making sure that its RNGs are producing random numbers is always a top priority.
For an online casino to be given a license to operate legally, it must meet the standards set by the regulatory authority concerned. One of those standards relates to the fairness of the games being offered. If a casino offers games that are not fair for any reason, including any flaw in the RNGs being used, then it will not be awarded a license, and any license that has previously been granted will be revoked. Random numbers are therefore essential for a casino to obtain and retain a license to operate legally and become an honest and legit NZ online casino.
The online casino industry is thriving, but that's only because players know that the vast majority of venues are fair and trustworthy. Should casinos employ flawed RNG systems, that fact would eventually come to light and no player would trust that online gaming is as fair as they want and have every right to insist it should be. This would cause a collapse of the entire industry, which would cost casinos a great deal more in the long term than any fraudulent gain that might be made in the short term.
Secure RNG Game Providers
All legitimate game developers take their RNG systems very seriously. The developers that are most well-known also have the biggest reputations to protect. That being the case, if you want to be absolutely sure that you are playing games that are fair to all, focus on games from those biggest providers. Here is our shortlist of six of the most trusted game developers around:
Microgaming was founded in 1994 and is based in the Isle of Man. This is the company that gave the world such well-known games as Mega Moolah, Immortal Romance, Major Millions, Thunderstruck, and Tomb Raider, to name just five. Now owned by Games Global Limit, this brand has been around for decades, and should be around for many more decades to come.
Probably the most famous provider of Live Casino games in the world, Evolution was launched in 2006 and has since released more than 160 titles. These include immersive Live Casino versions of table games like blackjack and baccarat, as well as a whole series of ‘game show’ style games, including Crazy Time, Crazy Coin Flip, Monopoly Live and Gonzo’s Treasure Hunt Live.
Known for giving us games that are as easy on the eyes as they are entertaining, Playtech is the fifth company on our shortlist. This company was founded in 1999 and releases both table games and pokies. Just a few examples of its most popular titles are Age of the Gods: King of Olympus, Buffalo Blitz, Speed Auto Roulette and Secrets of the Amazon.
Like Microgaming, NetEnt is another developer that has been around since the mid-90s. NetEnt is a much-loved brand that has earned itself a fantastic reputation for creating games with high Return to Player figures. Just some of the games that you will recognise from this company include Starburst, Gonzo’s Quest, Divine Fortune and Mega Fortune.
Established in 1997, Play’n GO has gone on to become one of the most prolific game development companies around. This is the provider that introduced Rich Wilde to the world in his famous Book of Dead slot, which spawned the entire “Book of” genre. Other Play’n GO titles you’ll have heard of, if not played, include Reactoonz, Fruit Bonanza, and Moon Princess.
Pragmatic Play is an award-winning software provider that has become an industry leader since it was launched in 2015. The brand has a large and impressive catalogue of pokies that include Sweet Bonanza, Gates of Olympus, Sugar Rush and the popular video pokies series John Hunter including Tomb and the Scarab Queen.
There are many other developers that we could have included here, but you'd have plenty of games to play even if you focused exclusively on these five. Rest assured that all quality developers go to great lengths to ensure the fairness of their RNGs, so if a developer has a respected license and its games are available from a properly licensed and regulated casino, you can play with confidence.
For reasons that we've already discussed, it isn't at all difficult to find all the fair online casino games you could want. All you have to do is play at properly licensed and regulated casinos that offer games from properly licensed developers. All of our casinos reviews here at TheCasinoGuide are absolutely fair and trustworthy, so keep it legal and you'll always be safe.